Maoist rebels
[Representational Image]Vanguard

In two separate incidents, Naxals attacked and shot dead polling officials and lit three vehicles on fire one day before the second phase of Lok Sabha 2019 elections in Odisha's Kandhamal district.

One incident occurred near the Gochhapada police limits on Wednesday (April 17) afternoon when a landmine exploded near a vehicle carrying election officers. They were on their way to the Barahala booth. The driver of the car immediately turned back.

However, the Maoists who were hidden in the forest anticipated the move and rained bullets on the car. One woman, 26-year-old Sanjukta Digal, a gram rozgar sevak, succumbed to her injuries, reports Times of India. Her body has been sent for a post mortem.

In a similar but unrelated incident, when another set of election officials travelling in two cars came very close to landmines which exploded when they were travelling along the Ribilada Ghati towards the Mungunpadar polling booth in the Sumerbandh Panchayat. The incident took place at 11:30 am on April 17, Wednesday.

When the Maoists saw that the election officials escaped, they stopped the vehicles, asked the people inside to get down and lit the cars and motorcycle on fire. The election officials were forced to return to Phiringa and could not go to the polling centre.

The Kandhamal district's superintendent of police, Pratik Singh confirmed the incidents and also confirmed that one person was killed in the attacks. However, he added that a combing operation in the region would be taken to the next level in the area.